Amazon Go launches, letting people walk into shops and take things from the shelves

The company uses a range of technologies so that people won’t ever have to encounter a line or a checkout, it claims

Andrew Griffin
Monday 05 December 2016 16:44
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Amazon Go: The world’s 'most advanced shopping technology'

Amazon has launched a real-life shop where people can just pick things up and leave.

Amazon Go, as it is calling the shop, uses a range of technologies to watch over people and see what they take from the shop. When they leave – which is done simply by walking back out the door – they’ll be charged through their Amazon account for everything that they’ve picked up.

To shop at the store, people just sign in at the door with their Amazon app, by pressing their phone against a sensor. That signs them in – and then everything else is done automatically.

“Our checkout-free shopping experience is made possible by the same types of technologies used in self-driving cars: computer vision, sensor fusion, and deep learning,” the company writes on its launch website.

“Our Just Walk Out technology automatically detects when products are taken from or returned to the shelves and keeps track of them in a virtual cart. When you’re done shopping, you can just leave the store. Shortly after, we’ll charge your Amazon account and send you a receipt.”

The company said that it had started the project four years ago, with the aim of creating a shopping experience without a checkout. In that sense it is similar to other, smaller-scale products that it has released, like the Amazon Dash button which allows people to order things from Amazon just by pressing a button in their house.

The shop itself looks just like a real store, with roughly about 1,800 square feet of retail space filled with products. Those products are arrayed on normal shelves.

The first of the Go stores will be opening next year, in Seattle. At the moment it is only open to Amazon employees in its beta programme, it said.

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